Swiss destroyers Anachronism waylay senses with prog, death onslaught on harsh ‘Meanders’

Music can be a means for settling one’s anxiety as sounds that appeal to you can wash over your mind and help you get a grip on reality. At the same time, every person is gifted and/or cursed with an individual brain with unique wiring, so music that might cool your tension won’t necessarily work for everyone else. Your sedative might cause someone else’s amygdala to lose control.

Swiss metal brain crushers Anachronism might not be what ails you if your anxiety is running amok as their elastic, bludgeoning combination of death metal, jazzy bends, and technical proficiency doesn’t exactly scream serenity. Nor did they likely aim for that anyway. But for me as a listener, I found comfort in the psychosis on their warped third record “Meanders,” an eight-track, 33-minute bruiser that is nicely portioned as all these twists and turns could grow exhausting if dumped into a larger bucket. The band—vocalist/guitarist Lisa Voisard, guitarist Manu Le Bé, bassist Julien Waroux, drummer Florent Duployer—makes wise use of their time and leaves you thoroughly torn apart yet not so overwhelmed that you can’t take another trip quickly. Unless they crush your mental comfort, of course.

“Contrasts” displays smeary vision as proggy bass bends around corners, and Voisard’s growls become a factor early, digging underneath your fingernails. The playing is trudgy and tricky, playing games with your mind, and a strange atmosphere clouds your brain before everything melts and drips away.  The title track is punchy and weird, the growls scraping as the playing bludgeons and bruises lungs. Rubbery guitars and violent shrieks combine, icy waters flow and threaten hypothermia, and the final moments disorient as the growls peel back your face. “Prism” chugs and punishes as the growls leave damage to your ribcage, the guitars launching a channeled assault. The playing manages to be muddy and elastic, clubbing as Voisard’s roars smash you, the guitars delving into jazzier territory that adds elegance to the blunt jolts. “Source” is viscous and gutting, wild howls making thunderous impressions, spacious melodies flooding your imagination. Guitars ignite and take progressive turns, the growls crush, and strange waves pull you under the surface.

“Insula” lets the bass out front to flex as the pace mashes and lurches, the violence steadily increasing. The playing then strikes harder, the growls add extra levels of menace, and blistering fury ensures that the pain you sustained lasts a while. “Mirage” begins in a bizarre vibe, your mind floating on water and the spacey guitars taking you to planes beyond this one. The bass tramples as the playing jars and shifts, and your mind snarls without mercy, meandering into cold waters that cause you to tremble violently. “Macrocosm” lets guitars explore the atmosphere, later drilling into your skull as the riffs leave your vision blurry and uncertain. The bass chews as the vibe slurs into madness, growls turn up late and rip into your sides, and the heaviness peaks and explodes into the sky. Closer “Dialogues” crushes as throaty growls attack you, slipping into murky power as you’re mentally forced to deal with the chaos. Screams lace as bloody urgency rises dangerously, fading into eternal psychosis.

Anachronism’s style is all over the map, yet it’s obvious they’re in total, deadly control as they prove on “Meanders,” an album that will twist your brain into a pretzel. One can install the death metal foundation and all of the various descriptors, as we attempted above, but that won’t truly get you to the heart of it. This is music that must be experienced to be absorbed, and while understanding might always exist at arm’s length, it still will indoctrinate you into a world consumed by fire.

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